It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that another young, Black trans/ gender non-conforming person, Devin Diamond, has been murdered in New Orleans, just a few weeks after 24 year old Erica “E” Davis was shot in the Treme neighborhood on her way to work.

We are all aware of the horrific massacre in Orlando where 49 queer and trans people, majority of whom identified were under 30 years old and Latinx or other people of color- were murdered at a nightclub this weekend.  The immediate families of both those we lost in Orlando, as well as those recently lost here in New Orleans, are in our hearts and minds as we know this is an extremely difficult time.

BreakOUT! understands the connection between these losses and other acts of violence- in a country that breeds white supremacy, imperialism, fragile masculinity, homophobia/transphobia (internal and external), Islamophobia, and xenophobia.  It is because of all of these -isms and phobias that we can expect nothing less.  With the rise of increasingly public attacks on our communities and our intersectional identities, we are not surprised that the war our country is waging against us in ideologies, manifested through either physical or systemic violence, across the country will be fought out on the streets, realized in actual acts of war against our people, with trans and queer youth of color as its targets. We see these things as connected to and perpetuating a larger system that feeds on fear- the fear to walk down the street because you are undocumented, the fear to walk down the street because you are Black, the fear to walk down the street because you are trans or gender non-conforming…

BreakOUT! has learned so much from our family in the struggle at the Congress of Day Laborers through our Vice to ICE Campaign.  One of these things is the resiliency of a people who- when pushed to the very limits with nothing to lose- rise up and say “No fear.”

While today we may find this even harder to do- with Devin Diamond heavy on our hearts along with all those we lost in Orlando- we are also determined to continue to rise up and carry on the legacy of our ancestors who started this movement in response to state violence and hate so many years ago, even before the Stonewall Riot or the Compton Cafeteria Riots.

We will mourn and we will heal and we will be ever determined to stay that course- organizing for something that cannot be legislated into existence.  Our vision of liberation is simple.  We will continue to fight for a New Orleans- a world- where we can walk down the street without fear, with the right to live freely with equitable access to resources that will ensure our safety and survival.

As one of the Grand Marshals of New Orleans Pride this year, we ask that both organizers and attendees of New Orleans Pride refrain from relying on increased presence of law enforcement policing the bodies of Queer, Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, Latinx, Black, Femme folks, and other identities vulnerable to police and state violence to keep us safe this weekend.

We know that we can’t be free until others are also free- so our vision can’t come through imperialism, capitalism, criminalization, prejudice, or xenophobia- we can’t continue to rely on the same state strategies that have left us incarcerated, homeless, deported, in poverty, or dead- more police won’t keep us safe, more military won’t keep us safe, hate crime legislation won’t keep us safe, locking people away won’t keep us safe.  Rather, we can rely on the resilience and motivation of our community to create proactive, transformative strategies that move us closer to freedom and liberation.

This Pride week, we ask that you lift up the names of Devin Diamond, Erica “E” Davis, everyone whose lives were lost in Orlando, and the countless others we’ve lost throughout the years, both whose names we know and those we don’t.  And when you lift them up, we ask you to do so in the name of collective liberation, resiliency and resistance, sin miedo.

Make sure to love on one another through such a difficult time, as we deal with so many discourteous individuals. Practice self-care, Self Love, and the Love of others.  Show them how resilient we are and how we will continue love on each other even in difficult times.

Rest in power, Devin Diamond
Rest in power, Erica “E” Davis